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Megan Alexander Beacon Radio Interview Pg 10

Max Lucado: New Year- It’s a New Day, the Choice is Yours

January 2017

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day.. PG 13

The Worth of Waiting Much of our lives is spent waiting and it’s one of the hardest thing we have to do. When we’re waiting, it means we’re not in control PG 6

It’s Divorce Season Recent research has shed light on the interesting fact that when couples experience marital problems, they don’t talk to a counselor or even their pastor PG 11

Do Dogs Dream? Can we take what is known about dreaming in rats and humans and apply the information to dogs? Matthew Wilson believes that we can. PG 12

Anjelah Johnson COMEDIAN, ACTRESS, AND BEACON Interview Pg 4

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Steve Teel recently interviewed Anjelah Johnson on Beacon Radio. Anjelah is a standup comedian with two Netflix specials, an actress of MAD TV fame, viral YouTube videos (Nail Salon and Bon Qui Qui), and movies including this month’s The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. Anjelah spoke about her marriage, her faith, battling the comparison game, surviving in Hollywood on Cheerios and Top Ramen and little else but her faith in God. Anjelah used that challenging season when no opportunities were coming her way to use that time to pursue God. For the entire audio interview including her testimony go to Tune in Saturdays Noon to 1pm on KSLR AM630 for more Beacon Radio interviews with local and national difference makers.


they would have dance classes, acting classes, STEVE TEEL: When did you start to and there was a stand-up comedian teaching think, ‘Comedy is something I should do?’ a class on joke-writing and she asked me if I ANJELAH JOHNSON: You know it’s one of those where you know the path you’re on is wanted to take her class and I was like, ‘Well is it free?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, it’s free,’ from God when the doors just keep opening. I didn’t even want to be a comedian. I moved and so I was like, ‘I guess so.’ I ended up taking this joke-writing class because it was free. to Hollywood because I wanted to be an ST: Unbelievable, actress. I thought I was Anjelah. going to be a dramatic AJ: One of the first actress. I had no idea I’d jokes I wrote was this was going to be telling nail salon bit that ended jokes. And when I up blowing up my spot. moved to Hollywood it’s ST: No kidding. That like: get in where you fit in. I’ll take a dance class, sure. I’ll take an act- was the first thing you wrote? AJ: Oh yeah, it’s in my very first set. I ing class, sure. Whatever kind of class I can think the class was a month long or two get in. Music videos, commercials, whatever it was and I ended up taking this joke-writing months long and at the end of the class we had to perform at a real comedy club, that stand-up comedy class at a church. It was was our graduation and my closing joke was because the church I went to in Hollywood the nail salon bit at my graduation perforwas very industry-based: a lot of actors, promance. ducers, directors, dancers, a lot of entertainProposed Advertisement for September 2016 ST: Wow. How did it go? I know it’s hugeers went to this church. Every Tuesday night viral. So did it land even that night? they would do ta creative arts night where

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AJ: Oh yeah. Had it not gone well that night I would have never done it again because like I said I didn’t want to be a comedian. It was something that just kind of fell into my lap and so if it didn’t go well then I’d be like, ‘Alright, well I tried that and I’m moving on. ’ But it went well so I kept doing it. ST: That’s unreal to me. Even in the comedy-writing workshop you weren’t thinking, ‘Oh yeah, this is cool, this would be fun,’ until you did it and were, ‘Oh, I guess I’m really good at this.’ AJ: Exactly. ST: So where did it go from there? AJ: I ended up doing this comedy night at a club where they paid me $25 and from there they recorded it and they put it online and then it blew up on YouTube and then that kind of blew up my spot. It was at a time in my life where I had been in Hollywood for quite a few years. Nothing was going on. I didn’t have an agent. I didn’t have any opportunities, or anything saying, ‘You’re on the right track, keep going.’ I was on unemployment. All my unemployment checks had run out. I was definitely at a place where I was considering going home. It was one of those: You tried it. It didn’t work. Time to give up and go home. I stayed for two reasons: One, because my sister sent me money to pay for my rent and she’d send me gift certificates to the grocery store so that I could eat. I also stayed because I really felt like God was saying, ‘I’m not done with you yet. Just hold on, I know everything in your situation looks like you’re done but I’m not, so just wait.’ I felt it so strong and I waited even though my circumstances were telling me completely different. This was January 2007 and I took this time where I didn’t have auditions, I didn’t have opportunities, I didn’t have anything in my life, saying: keep going. I took this time, my downtime, and I turned it into my pursuing God time and I really just focused on God and my relationship with Him. I would wake up every day and I would turn on my praise and worship music and I would just worship. I would just pray. I would journal. I would read. I would go to the gym and I would come home and would eat my Top Ramen or my Cheerios because that’s all I really could afford and I would do the same thing: I would read, I would pray, I would worship. It was weird at first because it was kind of something I was training myself to do, you know? Kind of like when you go to the gym: you don’t want to put on your workout clothes, continued on page 9

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Self-Control: “The Engine of Success” BY LAUREN ROBERTSON, Beacon Intern

“New Year New Me.” An exhausted slogan that challenges us to put down the last of the Christmas cookies, hit the gym, start a book, or simply turn over a new leaf. But if you are relying on a trendy hashtag to kick off a renewed sense of commitment, beware. What many fail to realize is there is a science to self-discipline; a science that traces back to adolescence. Suppose you are seated in front of two marshmallows placed within reach, and you are instructed: “Eat one now or enjoy two later.” Would you be able to resist the temptation for a greater, but delayed reward? Most likely. Place a five-year-old in the same scenario, and the ability to exercise selfcontrol becomes a more arduous task. In his acclaimed book The Marshmallow Test, psychologist Walter Mischel describes how he used this method to research and analyze self-control levels in adolescents ranging over a variety of demographics. Over the years, Mischel followed up with the children and discovered those who could delay gratification for longer

periods of time in the marshmallow test we exercise this logic in our day to day had increased success as adults. behavior to reap benefits of a cooler cogniMischel describes the two opposing sys- tive complex? According to Mischel, the tems (that coexist) in our brain as hot verbeauty behind the brain is that it is remarksus cold. ably malleable, and while Mischel appears According to Mischel, the limbic system, to believe much of our behavior stems from or the “hot emotional childhood rearing, you will notice a worthwhile adults do qualify as system” of our brain, “regulate(s) basic for cognilifestyle change this new year. candidates drives and emotions tive modification. He essential for survival, from fear to anger to further notes the regions in the PFC facilihunger and sex.” In other words, the hot sys- tate critical skill for self-regulation- executem triggers more impulsive behavior. tive function. Mischel claims the executive Counterbalancing the hot “GO” instinct function (EF) “allows us to cool and restrain is the “cool” and collected prefrontal cortex our impulsive hot reactions in the service of (PFC)- the region of the brain that influour goals and values, and to regulate emoences behavior and personality. A well tions adaptively.” Furthermore, the Center developed and conditioned PFC correlates for the Developing Child by Harvard Univerto higher success rates in maintaining a job, sity states, “Executive function and self-regcultivating a relationship, and avoiding ulation skills are the mental processes that hasty, impulsive decisions which are foolish enable us to plan, focus attention, rememupon closer examination. ber instructions, and juggle multiple tasks Having more resolute self-control successfully…the brain needs this skill set to empowers us to exercise and better control filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and both the hot and cool systems. So how can achieve goals, and control impulses.” Thus,


The Worth of Waiting by KIRK FREEMAN, Pastor CrossBridge Community Church

The doctor’s appointment was at 2:00 p.m. and my mom and I had been sitting in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity (30 minutes is an eternity for an eight year old boy.) Sure, it was nice to leave school early, but waiting in the doctor’s office is just one level above waiting in the principal’s office, especially when you know a booster shot is coming. The crazy thing about waiting is that it never really gets any easier as we grow older. Granted we tolerate a wait in the doctor’s office better than when we were young, but as adults we wait on much more weighty matters (yes, that’s a pun). We wait for a job to come through...we wait for a relationship to be restored...we wait for a heartache to mend...or cancer to be healed...or to become pregnant.

adults must concentrate on revamping their EF in order to “to overcome stimulus control with self-control”. For example, exercising self-control to not eat those greasy fries when presented with the warm, salty stimulus will break junk food inclinations. Thus, the power of the hot system to dictate behavior is significantly reduced as the mind rewires itself to favor delay of gratification to reap the more beneficial end product. Mischel eloquently put it: “[temptation] takes full account of immediate rewards but discounts rewards that are delayed.” All in all, mind over matter. While instant gratification proves the easy way out, test the extent of your willpower. Truly take time to mediate the consequent benefits of delayed gratification, and you will notice a worthwhile lifestyle change this new year. REFERENCES: The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel Much of our lives is spent waiting and it’s one of the hardest thing we have to do. When we’re waiting, it means we’re not in control... and we hate not being in control. Waiting makes us anxious as we imagine all sorts of scenarios, generally dwelling on the worst possible ones. Recently a friend of mine, who’s looking for a job, told me he felt like he was going crazy as he waited on a company to respond to his application. The worry and anxiety of not knowing when or if he’d hear back was killing him. Waiting feels like a waste. We feel unproductive and we entertain all kinds of negative thoughts about ourselves. It leads us to feel helpless and weak. But God has made a promise specifically for those times of waiting: I will work in every circumstance for the good of those who love me and align themselves with my purposes. (Romans 8:28) God never wastes our waiting. He promises to work in our waiting. He literally promises his supernatural influence to those who give him room in their lives. In God’s economy, what often feels like death is actually the time when God is producing life within us. It’s in the crucible of waiting that God, if we let him, will refine our character and our faith.

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J A N UA R Y 2 0 1 7 — B E A CO N


Youth for Christ The rising youth population, unless reached by the age of 18, may come into leadership without ever knowing Christ. But reaching youth is not as simple as sending in a preacher. Kids without parents first need a loving mentor. Hungry kids need a good meal. Broken kids need a reason to live. You can help rewrite their story. Youth for Christ is in the “life story” business. We celebrate when unlikely kids emerge as influential Christian leaders from suicidestricken suburbs, the cold walls of juvenile institutions, and yes... the city cores that burn before our very eyes. The constraining call of God draws us to the poor, oppressed, imprisoned, and marginalized. When reached, they become the most powerful Gospel force these neighborhoods have ever seen. Below is a specific way your partnership with Youth for Christ affects the young people in the community... Disciple-Making Relationships with Lost Kids “If I didn’t have my YFC leaders, I don’t know where my life would be. At Youth for Christ, I feel like I really am loved.” Jessy was prepared to end her life. Family life was unstable. Her father is an alcoholic and her mother had to work multiple jobs to get by. All of life’s challenges were keeping Jessy from taking part at camp, but she felt like it was her last hope. At camp, she learned about being vulnerable with her feelings and sharing her story. Jessy shared with her cabin leader, Rachel, that, prior to camp, she had prepared a suicide letter. It was her experience with God and talking to Rachel that allowed Jessy the power to throw the letter away and give her life to Jesus. Every-

one has the same need for freedom, but not everyone has the same access to justice. Jessy loves life and because of Rachel, a caring role model she is able to grow in her relationship with Jesus. Your gift catalyzes transformational relationships with kids like Jessy whose life will never be the same. The eternal value of reaching young people for Christ cannot be measured; however, these numbers allow us to celebrate what God is doing across San Antonio. 2,240 authentic Christ-sharing relationships with lost kids. Then what? • 231 became new followers • 545 plugged into a fellowship - most often a local church • 1,071 became core/student leaders • 876 met 1-on-1 with a loving Christian adult • Mentoring • 67 new mentor matches • 6 new church partners Camps and Retreats • 234 total campers served Your financial partnership will interrupt the hurt of young people with the love of Jesus. The needs of our city are too great to ignore, and investing in our city’s youth is a powerful solution. Through Jesus and with each other, we can change the future of our nation for Christ. We’re humbled by and grateful for your consideration. For more information, visit or call 210-452-1171.

Student Writers Program The Beacon has an exciting new program to watch out for… Our Student Writers Initiative. The young people in the community are getting out in the community and sharing their stories of service, as well as spotlighting different ministries and organizations in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.


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Two Prerequisites for Yearly Goal Setting BY DARRYL LYONS

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28 (NIV) Goal setting is distressing for me to write about. I am concerned that you will do what I did for many years. You will set goals independently of God. You may potentially create a checklist of things to do to accomplish in your own selfish ambition. Like I do all too often, I discount the omnipresent Creator of the universe who is interested in every decision I make. Then, I experience the disappointment of accomplishing things only the world praises. Quite candidly, I waste a portion of life only focused on dollars and cents and not the lives around me. The good news is that God restores. He gives us another chapter in life. Currently, I deploy two goal-setting prerequisites: (a) successful setup (b) high expectations. Prerequisite 1: Successful Setup

Time. Set a big chunk of time away from the office and distractions. We should spend much of the time just staring and thinking. It is in those moments that clarity comes. My goal-setting venue of choice—a hotel lobby with access to coffee. Your ideal place may be in a deer blind, a home office, or in the car. It just needs it to be quiet and away from distractions. People. We must work with our spouses, significant others, or business partners. They will see things we can’t. This is wise council. Did I say spouse? Don’t discount the power of having your spouse engage in the process. I know it has personally saved my career. Prayer. We cannot disconnect the Maker of the entire universe from goal setting. This is a habit that must be broken. Prayer is the vehicle where we get to talk to our Heavenly Father about what is on our heart, learn about His will for our lives, and see if the two are aligned.

Prerequisite 2: High Expectations Don’t set low goals, thus discounting the greatness the Lord has in place for us. We must learn to think like a Texan: think big or go home. Pastor Tim Keller said, “I will no longer disrespect God by having low expectations (of what He can/will do).” We need to be excited about the potential God has in our lives. God wants to participate in our lives and He wants us to live it abundantly. We subtly recognize God when we say, “It June 2016 happened for aIssue reason.” I’m suggesting that goal setting with God not be so subtle or

reactive. I think we need to proactively plan by matching our unique gifts & interests to the One who placed them there. Planning with God makes too much sense. Rather than simply meeting our personal budget desires, our goals will now include a legacy and others. With a goal-setting attitude in complete union with God, you are free to execute with a new business partner! Prayer: Lord, you know the difference between my goals and your goals. Give me wisdom to know as well.

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ANJELAH JOHNSON continued from page 4

you don’t want to drive to the gym, but once you get there and you start working out you feel good and then once you’ve been doing it for a while it’s kind of addictive and you keep coming back and that’s kind of how I felt with my relationship with God at the time. It was like I was training myself to do all these things and the next thing you know it became something that I craved and something that I wanted and when I was out driving around I just couldn’t wait to get home and get into my prayer closet and lock my door and just throw my worship music on and I grew so much in that time. This was the beginning of 2007 and I during that time of prayer and really just devoting myself to God; I was saying, ‘God, I want to be an actress, and I moved here to Hollywood to be an actress but more than that, I just want you.’ When that became a genuine statement from my heart it changed something and I felt like God was telling me this one night in prayer, ‘I’m about to do something really big in your life and you’re going to be so busy that I don’t want you to think that this isn’t from me because what we have right now, where you spend all day with me praying, journaling, worshiping, is a luxury. You’re not going to have this luxury very much longer.’ I felt that so strong in my heart. That God knew that I would start giving myself a guilt trip if all the sudden I couldn’t spend all day with Him because it would start to become a religious thing instead of a heartfelt thing. So God was kind of giving me the grace like, ‘You can step out of this season now; this season is done, you’re stepping into a new season.’ And just like that this YouTube video comes out and blows up my spot. Next thing you know TV networks, and producers, and agents are calling me and they want to meet with me and that’s by February. This video came out January to February there’s like 4 million views on this one video and then by March I ended up getting a new agent and a new manager and then by May I ended up auditioning for the TV show MAD TV and I ended up booking it. Then by that summer, I ended up writing more material to travel around the country and by the end of the year I was touring the country as a stand-up comedian and my life had completely changed from January 2007 when I had nothing in my life but God saying, ‘I’m not done yet. Hold on,’ and me turning that into ‘Then let me just pursue you and who You are,’ and by the end of the year I’m on a hit TV show and touring the country as a comedian. ST: That’s unreal. That’s beautiful. That’s encouragement for our listeners today too because whether pursuing whatever career, whatever desires, we hit those times when

we’re just kind of broken. You certainly could have gone one way but instead you turned it into a complete pursuit of God. ST: Are you living the dream life? You’re huge right now. AJ: Well thank you. Yes, there’s always dreams for bigger, always dreams for more. And actually something I struggle with and I’m sure many other people struggle with is comparison. Just comparing your journey to someone else’s journey. Your life to someone else’s. Especially in this day of social media where it’s so easy just to scroll through your Instagram feed and see someone else’s highlight reel of their life and wonder why I don’t have that, why it seems they have it so easy, why does this person get to go on all these lavish trips or whatever it may be. It may be that you’re a woman who wants to have kids and you scroll through and see all your friends and their babies and they’re doing mommy trips and they’re doing whatever it is that you don’t get to be a part of because you can’t get pregnant and you’re comparing your situation to their situation. Or maybe you’re a guy who’s struggling with your identity and maybe you’re not in the career that you want, making the money that you want, and here you are scrolling through someone else’s feed where they just bought their brand new BMW and they just got their promotion at work or whatever it is. We are tempted to compare ourselves, and what our journey is to someone else’s highlight reel and that’s definitely something that I’ve struggled with all throughout my career and it’s a daily thing that you just have to continually give to God and I know where I want to be in my career and where I am now. It’s hard to balance the dreams and hopes of for more and at the same time not coveting somebody else’s that seems to have what you want. ST: So what do you do? You’re right about social media. So is God showing you something that’s very practical that kind of helps you to fight that off ? AJ: You know just reminding myself that my journey is my own. And it’s really just a matter of time--I’m sure there’s somebody looking at my journey and wishing they had my story. And just trusting that God has a plan for me; that He’s not done with me. Just going to that place and changing my perspective is really my number one. Anytime I catch myself in that mindset where I am comparing myself or I am maybe getting down about something. It’s ‘Okay, Anjelah. Stop and think about your perspective. What is your perspective right now? What are you focusing on?’ It’s really about changing that and that changes my attitude and you move forward from that place. ST: Those are some great words for all of us, Anjelah. And thank you so much for the joy, the hilarity that you bring.

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Beacon Radio sQuAd Talks To Megan Alexander BY STEVE TEEL, BEACON RADIO

Interviewing Megan Alexander of TV’s Inside Edition reporter, former KENS 5 and Great Day SA host, and now author of an excellent book, Faith In the Spotlight, was a real joy for me. But it was also fun to introduce the Beacon Radio sQuAd and have some of you radio listeners and Beacon readers ask Megan questions. Here are two of our sQuAd members’ Q&A with Megan. If you’d like to be on the Beacon Radio sQuAd-send an email: Steve@ For the full interview with Megan, go to

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Claire Leslie ( San Antonio) Hey, Megan. This is Claire Leslie, I’m 15 years old and I feel called to make a difference in this world through music and entertaining. So I wanted to ask you: it must be really hard to be in the spotlight and to have a strong relationship with God with people always disagreeing or having different opinions. I CLAIRE LESLIE know your first book, Faith In The Spotlight, actually talked about this so from your book, how are some ways you stay strong in your faith? Megan: Great question, Claire. Love it. And I want to encourage you to keep going in the music industry. You know it’s important to keep close to people of Christ. I think keeping close to fellow Christians keeps me close to the Lord. So find those friends that you can let your hair down with and talk to. I have friends in New York City, we hold each other accountable and do a little Bible study together. Hold on to those friends and the other thing I would say is: put pen to paper and define who you are, what you believe in, what’s important to you, what are your absolutes and what can you compromise on. Gabi Graves (Los Angeles) Hi, Megan, I’m Gabi Graves. I’m a ten year-old working actor living in L.A. My question is: Because in this industry you hear a lot of no’s, what keeps you motivated to keep going? Megan: Great question. Such a good question. I had an acting coach early on in my career GABI GRAVES who said, (and you’re exactly right), there will be so many no’s that you will get in terms of auditioning over and over again. Try to look at each audition as an experience. Instead of looking at is as a job to get or audition to win, treat it as an experience and meet one new person in the waiting room, try to get some feedback from that casting director that will help you for the next part. If you treat it as an experience I really think life becomes so much richer and then I look forward to those auditions Proposed Advertisement for August 2016 because of that and all the sudden you’ve done so many that you will get that part one day.

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Recent research has shed light on the interesting fact that when couples experience marital problems, they don’t talk to a counselor or even their pastor! In fact, most people first talk to a friend, what researchers call a “marital confidant”. According to this study seventy three percent of American adults have been a confidant about problems in someone’s marriage or long term relationship. That information is especially relevant as we launch into “divorce season” in San Antonio which begins in January, increases in February, and peaks in March every year. Sadly, thousands of couples around the city are quietly alone in their pain as the year begins. The Marital First Responders Program was developed by Dr. Bill Doherty of the University of Minnesota. The program highlights common

mistakes like offering too much advice, offering resources, or being critical. The emphasis of the workshop is to define the role of marital first responders, “which is to listen, empathize, affirm and offer perspective” - all based around the acronym LEAP. Doherty also advises responders that when anyone is in a dangerous situation, the struggling friend should be encouraged to get professional help. Throughout San Antonio, we have an inspiring network of biblical counselors, therapists, social workers, and LPCs doing wonderful work with couples and saving marriages through God’s power and grace. To learn more about the many resources available in the city, and in particular, about a “Marriage 911” training for mentor couples in January, go to



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Life is hard. Sin is real. Death is inevitable for us all. And for those in bondage to emotional, physical, sexual, and mental strongholds, it is easy to feel alone, hopeless, and unworthy of anything good. It is often in such a state that the weary soul of an addict glances toward heaven and cries out the question so many in this world ask, “Is God really good?” Because of the universal struggle that life is, it is common for us to try and define God through our cloudy lens of circumstance. When illness strikes, or resistance to the same temptation collapses for the 1000th time, we often make assumptions about God based on our brokenness and pain. But to do so is to miss two very important factors our heavy soul actually needs to deal with such pain: truth and hope. Jesus said that God is good (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19). Either Jesus was lying or he wasn’t. If he was telling the truth, then God truly is good -- all the time. Our circumstance, no matter how painful or difficult, cannot affect God’s goodness. But how does this truth help us in our pain and struggle with the very real challenges of life? The truth of God’s unwavering goodness brings hope to our daily struggle. Because God is good, he is trustworthy to do what is good, even if we can’t always perceive it. And because he loves us (John 3:16), the good he does is for our benefit (Rom. 8:28), not our harm. This idea is best understood from the perspective of a loving parent. My son recently came down with pneumonia. It really knocked him out. I love my son, and to see him in such physical agony ripped my heart out. In order to help him heal, we had

to give him medicine that quite frankly made his whole face contort because it tasted so disgusting. He dreaded each application of the medicine, even asking to skip doses. As a loving father, would I stop his treatment because he didn’t like the taste of the medicine? No! The medicine was the very thing helping him to heal. God is our loving heavenly Father; a better dad than any human! He longs for our healing, and he knows the best “medicine” we each need. I’m not suggesting that every painful circumstance in life is God “giving us medicine,” but I am suggesting that because God is good he has the best vantage point for knowing what we need at any moment of our lives, in any circumstance. And his goodness is worth celebrating, despite our hard circumstances. Psalm 34:1 - I will bless the Lord at all times his praise shall continually be in my mouth. The practice of praising God “at all times” is the practice of a heart that knows God is good in spite of life’s difficulties. And such a heart discovers another great truth about God: he is close to us in our suffering. Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Life is hard. God is good. Sin is real. God is near. Death is inevitable. God is life. May you find rest for your soul in the truth of God’s goodness and love. While he may not remove you from your difficult circumstance, he will be with you through every moment of it -- like a good father caring for his sick child. Trust in the good hand of your loving Father...








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rats were awake or asleep. In fact, the memories played at approximately the same speed during sleep as when the rats were awake. Can we apply this to dogs? Can we take what is known about dreaming in rats and humans and apply the information to dogs? Wilson believes that we can.”My guess is — unless there is something special about rats and humans — that cats and dogs are doing exactly the same thing,” he said,according to USA Today’s website. It is known that the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that collects and stores memories, is wired much the same way in all mammals. According to, Professor Wilson says, “If you compared a hippocampus in a rat to a dog; in a cat to a human, they contain all of the same pieces.” He believes that as dogs sleep, images of past events replay in their minds, much the same way people recall experiences while dreaming. In people it is known that most dreams occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dogs also experience periods of REM sleep. Psychology Today’s website says that

during REM their breathing becomes more irregular and shallow. There may be muscle twitching during REM and, when one looks closely, rapid eye movements behind closed eyelids can often be observed. It is during REM sleep that behaviors thought to be associated with dreaming (legs paddling, twitching, vocalizing, etc.) are most commonly observed. What we want to believe about dog dreams When we observe our dogs as they sleep, it’s just about impossible to imagine that they are not dreaming. Just like the rats studied by Wilson and Louie, it is tempting to believe that our four-legged best buddies are reenacting their recent experiences; playing at the dog park, sniffing in the woods, chewing on a trea-


sured bone, and chasing squirrels. The National Institutes of Health says that Sigmund Freud theorized that dreaming was a

“safety valve” for our unconscious desires. Perhaps he is correct, and, when our dogs sleep, they dream about catching the neighbor’s pesky cat, continuous belly rubs in conjunction with unlimited dog treats, and stealing the Thanksgiving turkey from the dining room table. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets. From





Whether or not dogs dream isn’t known with scientific certainty, but it sure is difficult to imagine that they don’t. We’ve all watched our dogs demonstrate behaviors in their sleep that resemble what they do in a fully awake state. Paddling legs, whining, growling, wagging tails, chewing jowls, and twitching noses inspire us to wonder what our dogs are dreaming about. What we know about dogs and dreams While our knowledge on this topic is very limited, the following known information helps us believe that dogs do indeed experience dreams. According to MIT News, Matthew Wilson, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, and Kenway Louie, a graduate student in 2001, have studied the relationships between memory, sleep and dreams. They found that when rats were trained to run along a circular track for food rewards, their brains created a distinctive firing pattern of neurons (brain cells). The researchers repeated the brain monitoring while the rats were sleeping. Low and behold, they observed the same signature brain activity pattern associated with running whether the

Now there’s an easy online solution to help keep your pet safe and healthy $10 off Annual Membership for Beacon Readers: Discount Code SABEAC10

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New Year- It’s a New Day, the Choice is Yours






Long, long ago, in the days before internet and email, running water and fire, in days when my hair was red and my waist was thin, I wrote an entry in my journal. It felt print-worthy, so I shared it with our church. People resonated with it, so we included it in a book. That was a quarter of a century ago, yet the words still seem to find their mark. It surfaces in magazines, blogs and newsletters. I even came across a version of this piece on a wall calligraphy. Maybe you’ve read it. If not, maybe you will and, who knows, it may find a place in your heart. —Max It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose. I choose love. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves. I choose joy. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. I choose peace. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live. I choose patience. I will overlook the

inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite Him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage. I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me. I choose goodness. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness. I choose faithfulness. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home. I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. I choose self-control. I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful-ness, gentleness, and selfcontrol. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest. Excerpted from Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado © Thomas Nelson. Originally published in When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado © Thomas Nelson

Every now and then, even the most loyal Vision Source patients might wonder about seeing an optometrist or their getting glasses at a big box store down the road. Of course, we feel strongly about maintaining our customers and attracting new ones, so we’re happy to share our top reasons for keeping that appointment with us. At Vision Source, you will: Enjoy personal service. We remember you and your family every time you come. Support a local small business. Give your patronage to those who live and work among you, instead of to Corporate America. Take advantage of quality over quantity. We pride ourselves on having a team that is well trained in optics and the anatomy of the eye itself. All of our technicians are certified or currently undergoing their training for their certifications. Our opticians are either licensed or currently being trained towards becoming licensed. Unfortunately, that is not the case in every larger retail setting. We make sure our staff is trained in what will work best for every patient, and we only deal in quality prod-

Monica Allison, O.D. Lindsey Denison, O.D. Kim Ip, O.D. Victoria Perez, OD Joshua Martin, OD

ucts. There are cheaper options that do not work as well, but we like to compare the quality of our products as you would a flip phone to a smart phone. We don’t like to recommend flip phone quality to our patients. Get the most from your insurance coverage. Vision Source is considered an in-network provider on most insurance coverages. If you go to a provider who is considered out of network, you may pay more and miss out on the maximum potential of your benefits. We will file the claim for you and go over all your benefits. Receive care for any potential injuries. Beyond helping correct vision problems, we can handle all of your medical eye care needs. Some big box operators can’t. We have the necessary instruments for detecting and documenting injuries or disease—even during an emergency situation after hours. Make an Appointment at our NEW location at 810 Knights Cross San Antonio, TX 78258.

Call 210-495-9020 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Student Writers Program The Beacon has an exciting new program to watch out for… Our Student Writers Initiative. The young people in the community are getting out in the community and sharing their stories of service, as well as spotlighting different ministries and organizations in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.

Tune in Saturdays at Noon KSLR AM630 Steve Teel hosts local and national difference makers who share their stories and insights to give you hope, inspiration, and change.


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Accepting God’s Will - Soul Talk v. Spirit Talk


The Bible says each person consists of a physical body, a soul and a spirit, which are intrinsically woven together to compile the complete person. The soul is that portion containing the mind and the emotional system: thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. The soul continues to develop throughout life. Bad experiences affect emotions and can cause negative attitudes and behaviors that weigh us down.

In contrast, the spirit is the part within us that longs to connect with God. Mature, constructive thinking takes place when an individual separates the messages from their soul, which may be clouded or altered by negative emotions, and those from the spirit, which look for a higher good or purpose. The example below contrasts a negative emotional reaction to the prospect of

change with the positive, constructive reacThe goal to becoming mature and emotion from one dedicated to maturity and tionally sound is to walk in the spirit, where growth. there is rest and peace – to recognize that The wounded soul complains, “God, why God the Father’s ways are higher than ours do you keep trying to change me? I like my and to embrace the plans he has. When I life and the way I do things – they work for encounter a decision or dilemma, I need to me, and my thinking is fine. I’m good take time to decide to ask my spirit to lead enough. I like predictmy thoughts and ability and comfort. rather than The goal to becoming mature actions, Why do you keep allowing my soul to and emotionally sound is to spark childish emopushing me to new emotional places?” walk in the spirit, where there tions.Here is an example The spirit reacts instead, “God is good, of how to start: is rest and peace he is in control, and Bow in prayer and he has my best in ask for wisdom and mind. Change is part of my journey, and guidance from God to counter initial selfmany blessings have been delivered. Be still protective and selfish reactions. Remind and remember.” yourself that the Lord loves growth and The soul whines, “No! I don’t want to change: the Bible is full of words about change – it is scary, it is hard and I risk fail- transformation, restoration, renewal, sancure. I like my ways, routines and beliefs. I tification, rebirth, all of which are His best don’t want to grow.” plan for your good. Ask the Lord to forgive The spirit embraces the heart of God, you, lead you, then listen to his reply and “This journey called life has been a fabulous obey. adventure. I love being in your presence, Stephen is a Licensed Professional especially when I can see your hand move. I Counselor and expert in relationship love. He has 28 years of experiam ready to be nurtured in your spirit. ence. He helps individuals find greater inner peace and also helps Fighting change is fighting directly against them become more successful in relationships. 210-490-9062 you. I will stop resisting.” (Stone Oak area)


Being Sons BASIC for Men, Hosted by the Alamo Band of Brothers (ABOB) Somewhere between boyhood and adult- begin to clearly see the path your life and hood an essential piece of every man's soul desires have been pointing to all along. It's gets lost, and without it there is no hope of like nothing you've ever done before. For becoming the man you want to be. To hundreds of men, from a wide variety of spirrecover what's gone missing itual backgrounds, these four requires a journey very few men days have proven to be among are willing to take. Come join a the most important in their lives rare group of men who also hunin helping them begin to live the ger for truth and authentic story they have always wanted to strength on a journey for the live. Remember...with God nothrecovery of your masculine soul. February 16-19, 2017 ing is impossible. Blanco, TX The Alamo Band of Brothers Take the journey. You were (ABOB) is hosting their 12th Men's BASIC, an born for this. event crafted to act like smelling salt for men "Being Sons crafts and guides experiences whose faith and passion have been comprofor men that awaken and equip them to live mised. These four prayerfully crafted days the life they were created by God to live." will guide you into new hope and a much Visit the Being Sons website for stories, needed clarity on who you truly are as a feedback and more information on life man, not through more information, but changing experiences with God for men. through personal revelation. With the use of and great storytelling you will camp

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THE STAR by JIM FAULK, Area Director-FCA

The star they had seen in the East went ahead of them, until it stopped over the place where the child was…Matthew 2:9 NIV It truly is my favorite time of the year – that time when we celebrate JESUS – the Reason for the season! Colossians 1:15-18 (NIV) says, “He who is the Image of Invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all thing hold together.” You might know Him as the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” from Isaiah 9:6. In this world of “stars”, and a culture that is enamored with their fame and fortune, whether Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year LeBron James, retired Spurs legend Tim Duncan, Dallas Cowboys’ Dak

Prescott, or our own Steele Knights, I’m reminded this year of how intentional I must be in pointing people to THE Star of the Season! During the Christmas season, it’s so easy to take my focus off of Christ’s incarnation and instead focus on holiday programs, bowl games, Santa Clause, more bowl games, Christmas festivities, and more, more, more football – and oh yes! Let’s don’t forget the Disney Christmas parade! I suppose that what I’m reminding myself this year is to follow the RIGHT star, the One that points to The Star. There are a lot of stars out there, coated with a lot of glitz and glamour, attempting to get our attention, and distracting us from the Truth that came postmarked “Special Delivery”, just for us! Let us, this Christmas season, join those shepherds and wise men, who by divine directive sought out the sign, then in the only proper response acceptable knelt, worshiped, and left in a whole new direction – praising and glorifying God! In this day and age of glittery stars, let’s not be remiss to remember that there is only ONE STAR that’s worth our genuine excitement – His Name is Jesus! Merry, merry Christmas from the Alamo Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, Alamo FCA’s Website, and Instagram accounts!

Local Junior Supports Local Charity

“Play one shot at a time” is Christian Fanfelle’s motto and the name of his newsletter. Christian, a junior attending UIW Preparatory High School, is an aspiring professional golfer. His mission is to combine his two passions in life; golf and finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes (TD1). Christian created his newsletter, Play One Shot at a Time, to be able to stay in touch with his fans regarding his golf tournaments, but it turned into much more than that. Through his newsletter and social media, Christian has been able to build an international following and “Team Fanfelle” is giving back and making a difference. Christian has taken the opportunity to

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fundraise through the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Leadership Links Birdies for Charity program. Members of Team Fanfelle can make a one-time donation or pledge a specific amount per birdie. Playing in fourteen tournaments and scoring 117 birdies this past season, Christian and Team Fanfelle raised over $2900 in donations. Half of which went to the AJGA ACE Scholarship Program, and the other half, $1,461, which was recently presented to the local Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) - South Central Chapter. This past season, Christian broke the record at the 59th Greater San Antonio Junior Championship, shooting a 62 on the final day. Currently ranked #7 in the state of Texas, Class of 2018, Christian has verbally committed and will be playing Division 1 Golf, representing the UTSA Roadrunners. Go ROADRUNNERS! Join Team Fanfelle and follow Christian on YouTube or subscribe to his newsletter by emailing playoneshotatatime@gmail. com. Making a difference one shot at a time.



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San Antonio Beacon January 2017  

Delivering Hope, Inspiration, and Change to San Antonio and surrounding communities

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